Over Ben Santer die de menselijke rol in de opwarming van de aarde aantoonde.
"Ever since scientists first began to explain the evidence that our climate was warming — and that human activities were probably to blame — people have been questioning the data, doubting the evidence, and attacking the scientists who collect and explain it. And no one has been more brutally — or more unfairly — attacked than Ben Santer."(6)
"Why didn’t Santer’s accusers bother to find out the facts? Why did they continue to repeat charges long after they had been shown to be unfounded? The answer, of course, is that they were not interested in finding facts. They were interested in fighting them."(11)
"Among the multitude of documents we found in writing this book were Bad Science: A Resource Book — a how-to handbook for fact fighters, providing example after example of successful strategies for undermining science, and a list of experts with scientific credentials available to comment on any issue about which a think tank or corporation needed a negative sound bite.
In case after case, Fred Singer, Fred Seitz, and a handful of other scientists joined forces with think tanks and private corporations to challenge scientific evidence on a host of contemporary issues. In the early years, much of the money for this effort came from the tobacco industry; in later years, it came from foundations, think tanks, and the fossil fuel industry."(14-15)
"It wasn’t just the Bush administration that took these claims seriously; the mass media did, too. Respected media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, and many others repeated these claims as if they were a “side” in a scientific debate. Then the claims were repeated again and again and again — as in an echo chamber — by a wide range of people involved in public debate, from bloggers to members of the U.S. Senate, and even by the president and the vice president of the United States. In all of this, journalists and the public never understood that these were not scientific debates — taking place in the halls of science among active scientific researchers — but misinformation, part of a larger pattern that began with tobacco." [mijn nadruk] (16)
"Why would scientists dedicated to uncovering the truth about the natural world deliberately misrepresent the work of their own colleagues? Why would they spread accusations with no basis? Why would they refuse to correct their arguments once they had been shown to be incorrect? And why did the press continue to quote them, year after year, even as their claims were shown, one after another, to be false? This is the story we are about to tell. It is a story about a group of scientists who fought the scientific evidence and spread confusion on many of the most important issues of our time. It is a story about a pattern that continues today. A story about fighting facts, and merchandising doubt." [mijn nadruk] (20)
"Tobacco caused cancer: that was a fact, and the industry knew it. So they looked for some way to deflect attention from it. Indeed, they had known it since the early 1950s, when the industry first began to use science to fight science, when the modern era of fighting facts began. Let us return, for a moment, to 1953." [mijn nadruk] (29)
"The industry made its case in part by cherry-picking data and focusing on unexplained or anomalous details. No one in 1954 would have claimed that everything that needed to be known about smoking and cancer was known, and the industry exploited this normal scientific honesty to spin unreasonable doubt. " [mijn nadruk] (38)
De Fairness Doctrine in de journalistiek (sinds 1949) die een gebalanceerde benadering van controversiële onderwerpen eiste, leidde tot het volgende:
"... throughout the 1950s and well into the 1960s, newspapers and magazines presented the smoking issue as a great debate rather than as a scientific problem in which evidence was rapidly accumulating , a clear picture was coming into focus, and the trajectory of knowledge was clearly against tobacco’s safety. Balance was interpreted, it seems, as giving equal weight to both sides, rather than giving accurate weight to both sides." [mijn nadruk] (41)
[Je geeft m.a.w. irrationele kletskousen net zo veel ruimte en gewicht als wetenschappers die het probleem goed onderzocht hebben. Alsof het alleen maar om meningen gaat en alle meningen gelijkwaardig zijn. ]
"In 1955, the industry established a fellowship program to support research by medical degree candidates: seventy-seven of seventy-nine medical schools agreed to participate."(43)
[Dat zegt veel over de naïviteit van de medische opleidingen die blijkbaar vanwege het geld hun onafhankelijkheid opgaven. Ook het vervolg laat zien hoe gemakkelijk medici zich lieten kopen en beïnvloeden.]
Uiteindelijk hielp het allemaal niets. Het algemene standpunt was in 1964 al dat roken de hoofdoorzaak was van longkanker, emfyseem, harproblemen, etc. Maar de industrie bleef ontkennen.
"How could the industry possibly defend itself when the vast majority of independent experts agreed that tobacco was harmful, and their own documents showed that they knew this? The answer was to continue to market doubt, and to do so by recruiting ever more prominent scientists to help."(53)
"The industry wasn’t just generating reasonable doubt; it was creating friendly witnesses — witnesses that could be called on in the future."(64)
"While the idea of equal time for opposing opinions makes sense in a two-party political system, it does not work for science, because science is not about opinion. It is about evidence. It is about claims that can be, and have been, tested through scientific research — experiments, experience, and observation — research that is then subject to critical review by a jury of scientific peers. Claims that have not gone through that process — or have gone through it and failed — are not scientific, and do not deserve equal time in a scientific debate. " [mijn nadruk] (71)
"The Tobacco Industry was found guilty under the RICO statute in part because of what the Hill and Knowlton documents showed: that the tobacco industry knew the dangers of smoking as early as 1953 and conspired to suppress this knowledge. They conspired to fight the facts, and to merchandise doubt.
But it took a long time for those facts to emerge, and the doubt to be dispelled. For many years, the American people did continue to think that there was reasonable doubt about the harms of smoking (and some still do). While hazard labels were strengthened, it was not until the 1990s that the industry began to lose cases in courts. And although the FDA sought to regulate tobacco as an addictive drug in the early 1990s, it was not until 2009 that the U.S. Congress finally gave them the authority to do so."(72)
"Industry doubt-mongering worked in part because most of us don’t really understand what it means to say something is a cause. We think it means that if A causes B, then if you do A, you will get B. If smoking causes cancer, then if you smoke, you will get cancer. But life is more complicated than that." [mijn nadruk] (74)
"Doubt-mongering also works because we think science is about facts — cold, hard, definite facts. If someone tells us that things are uncertain, we think that means that the science is muddled. This is a mistake. There are always uncertainties in any live science, because science is a process of discovery. " [mijn nadruk] (74)
"Doubt is crucial to science — in the version we call curiosity or healthy skepticism, it drives science forward — but it also makes science vulnerable to misrepresentation, because it is easy to take uncertainties out of context and create the impression that everything is unresolved. This was the tobacco industry’s key insight: that you could use normal scientific uncertainty to undermine the status of actual scientific knowledge."(75)
Seitz werd uiteindelijk zelfs door de tabaksindustrie niet meer serieus genomen. Hij legde zich toen verder toe op de bestrijding van het communisme door het Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) plan van Reagan te verdedigen.
"SDI (Star Wars to most of us) was rejected by most scientists as impractical and destabilizing, but Seitz and his colleagues began to defend it by challenging the scientific evidence that SDI would not work and promoting the idea that the United States could “win” a nuclear war."(78)
"As president of the National Academy of Sciences during the 1960s, Seitz had been disgusted by colleagues’ antiwar activities , and had opposed the arms control efforts of the Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrations as well as Nixon’s policy of détente — the U.S.-Soviet effort to move toward more peaceful relations. Détente was about finding ways to coexist peacefully with the Soviet Union; Seitz found that morally repugnant, believing that the Soviets would use disarmament to achieve military superiority and conquer the West.
Seitz’s strident anti-Communism was shared at influential foreign policy think tanks. These included the Hoover Institution (originally founded as the Hoover War Library, dedicated to promoting the “ideas that define a free society”), the Hudson Institute (founded by the military strategist Herman Kahn during the mid-1970s), and the Heritage Foundation (established in 1973 to promote conservative ideas). These organizations and their allies in Congress fostered an assault on détente. By the end of the decade, they had destroyed the idea of peaceful coexistence, justifying a major new arms buildup during the Reagan years. This attack was mounted in very similar ways to the effort to protect tobacco: opponents of détente cast doubt on the official intelligence assessments prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and created an alternative body of “facts”—which often weren’t. They planted their claims in American minds by using large-scale publicity campaigns in the mass media, campaigns that relied on the demand for equal time for their views. " [mijn nadruk] (79)
[Wat een gifmenger, die Seitz ... ]
"The panel saw evidence that the Soviets had not achieved a particular capability as proof that it had. The writer C. S. Lewis once characterized this style of argument: “The very lack of evidence is thus treated as evidence; the absence of smoke proves that the fire is very carefully hidden.” Such arguments are effectively impossible to refute, as Lewis noted. “A belief in invisible cats cannot be logically disproved,” although it does “tell us a good deal about those who hold it.” " [mijn nadruk] (89)
"Their views became the basis for Reagan’s confrontational foreign policy during his first term in office, and, most famously, his decision to pursue the Strategic Defense Initiative — better known as Star Wars."(91)
"By May 1986, sixty-five hundred academic scientists had signed a pledge not to solicit or accept funds from the missile defense research program, a pledge that received abundant media coverage. Historically, it was unprecedented. Scientists had never before refused to build a weapons system when the government had asked.
Why did scientists react so strongly to SDI? One reason was that they had a charismatic spokesman in the person of Cornell University astronomer Carl Sagan."(94)
"Team B, Jastrow, and Moynihan had all overestimated Soviet capabilities, and greatly exaggerated the certainty of their claims. But their alarming arguments had the desired effect, providing “evidence” that the United States needed to act, and fast. It also demonstrated that you could get what you wanted if you argued with enough conviction, even if you didn’t have the facts on your side. The Strategic Defense Initiative and its successor, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, were approved by Congress, at a cost of more than $60 billion." [mijn nadruk] (102)
Volgt een heel stuk over de nuclaire winter - theorie. Een reactie was de creatie van de organisatie George C. Marshall Institute, waar Seitz, Jastrow, etc. deel van uitmaakten en die Sagan en alle andere bezorgde wetenschappers (de Union of Concerned Scientists was een organisatie) op de bekende manier gingen zwartmaken en aanvallen.
"Jastrow raised initial funds for the Institute from the Sarah Scaife and John M. Olin foundations, well-known funders of conservative causes (until the mid-1990s, he avoided taking corporate money)."(122)
[Dat is in de VS zeker een constante: al die conservatieve rijke mensen die met hun geld alles ondersteunen wat de conservatieve opvattingen in stand probeert te houden. ]
"Replaying the tobacco strategy, they began urging journalists to “balance” their reports on SDI by giving equal time to the Marshall Institute’s views. When they didn’t, Jastrow threatened them, invoking the Fairness Doctrine."(123)
"But does fairness require equal time for unequal views? After all, sixty-five hundred scientists had signed the petition against SDI, and the Marshall Institute — at least at this early stage — consisted of Robert Jastrow and two colleagues. Whether or not it was fair, Jastrow’s approach worked."(124)
"Having dismissed the TTAPS model as unscientific and casting doubt on the objectivity of its authors by linking them to liberal and environmentalist organizations, Seitz completed the picture for his readers by alleging ulterior motives."(131)
[Natuurlijk vonden Seitz en zijn conservatieve vrienden dat Sagan etc. de 'communisten' in de kaart speelden en hun land verraadden. Geeuw ...]
"Many years later, the right wing continued to lambast Sagan well after the man was dead, while Seitz’s attack on nuclear winter was reprised by Rush Limbaugh in the 1990s and by novelist Michael Crichton in the 2000s. What was going on? The answer is that the right-wing turn against science had begun."(140)
"One of the great heroes of the American right of the late twentieth century was neoliberal economist Milton Friedman. In his most famous work, Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman argued (as its title suggests) that capitalism and freedom go hand in hand — that there can be no freedom without capitalism and no capitalism without freedom. So defense of one was the defense of the other. It was as simple — and as fundamental — as that. These men, committed as they were to freedom — liberty as they understood it, and viewing themselves as the guardians of it — were therefore also committed capitalists. But their scientific colleagues were increasingly finding evidence that capitalism was failing in a crucial respect: it was failing to protect the natural environment upon which all life — free or not — ultimately depends. " [mijn nadruk] (141)
"The free market was causing problems — unintended consequences — that the free market did not know how to solve. The government had a potential remedy — regulation — but that flew in the face of the capitalist ideal . (...) If science took the side of regulation — or even gave evidence to support the idea that regulation might be needed to protect the life on Earth — then science, the very thing Jastrow, Nierenberg, Teller, and Frederick Seitz had spent their working careers trying to build up, would now have to be torn down."(141-142)
[De relatie en samenhang tussen conservatieve en militaristische opvattingen en een verdediging van een extreem kapitalisme is er dus heel duidelijk. En kapitalisme betekent hier dus de markt zijn werk laten doen, niets reguleren, etc. ]
"And as in the debate over tobacco, opponents of regulating the pollution that caused acid rain would argue that the science was too uncertain to justify action."(143)
"The basic science of acid rain was now understood. Scientists had been working steadily on the question for nearly twenty-five years, demonstrating the existence of acid rain, its causes, and its effects on soils, streams, and forests. Major articles had been published in the world’s most prominent scientific journals, as well as in many specialist journals and government reports. In 1979, when Likens and his colleagues summarized the arguments for the general scientific reader in Scientific American, the magazine’s editors did not cast doubt or raise uncertainties. In a summary below the article’s title, the editors encapsulated: “In recent decades, the acidity of rain and snow has increased sharply over wide areas. The principal cause is the release of sulfur and nitrogen by the burning of fossil fuels.” Not a maybe, possibly, or probably in sight."(156)
"In 1980, Ronald Reagan came to power in the United States on a platform of reducing regulation, decreasing the reach of the federal government, and unleashing the power of private enterprise. Government, the new president insisted, was not the solution but the problem. Reagan was charismatic, his demeanor relaxed and genial, and his worldview put his administration on a collision course with the scientists working on acid rain."(162)
"The administration’s outright rejection of the conclusions of the nation’s most distinguished and qualified experts caused considerable consternation in scientific and regulatory circles. But what is particularly striking to our story is that the man they asked to assemble and chair the panel was someone we have already met — a man who had never worked on acid rain, but was well-known to the Reagan White House — Marshall Institute cofounder and SDI defender William A. Nierenberg."(169)
En ook weer met S. Fred Singer die in de 60er jaren nog voor het mileiu opkwam, maar in de decennia erna een heel andere richting insloeg.
"Besides being the only member proposed by the White House, Singer was also the only member without a regular, full-time academic appointment. He was affiliated with the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., which advocated unrestricted offshore oil development, transfer of federal lands to private hands, reductions in air-quality standards, and faster licensing of nuclear power plants." [mijn nadruk] (187)
"There would be no legislation addressing acid rain during the remainder of the Reagan years. The administration would continue to insist that the problem was too expensive to fix—a billion-dollar solution to a million-dollar problem. There would, however, be plenty of further scientific research."(220)
"“We don’t know what’s causing it” became the official position of the Reagan administration, despite twenty-one years of scientific work that demonstrated otherwise. “We don’t know” was the mantra of the tobacco industry in staving off regulation of tobacco long after scientists had proven its harms, too. But no one seemed to notice this similarity, and the doubt message was picked up by the media, which increasingly covered acid rain as an unsettled question."(220)
"Magical thinking still informs the position of many who oppose environmental regulation. As recently as 2007, the George Marshall Institute continued to insist that the damages associated with acid rain were always “largely hypothetical,” and that “further scientific investigation revealed that most of them were not in fact occurring.” The Institute cited no studies to support this extraordinary claim."(229)
"However, one thing we do know for sure is that doubt-mongering about acid rain—like doubt-mongering about tobacco—led to delay, and that was a lesson that many people took to heart. In the years that followed, the same strategy would be applied again, and again, and again—and in several cases by the same people. Only next time around, they would not merely deny the gravity of the problem; they would deny that there was any problem at all. In the future, they wouldn’t just tamper with the peer review process; they would reject the science itself."(231)
"At the same time as acid rain was being politicized, another, possibly even more worrisome problem had come to light: the ozone hole. The idea that human activities might be damaging the Earth’s protective ozone layer first entered the public mind in 1970."(232)
"In a series of meetings culminating in London in June 1990, the protocol was revised to include a complete ban on the manufacture of chlorofluorocarbons, as well as other chemicals that introduced chlorine into the stratosphere. CFC production was scheduled to cease in 2000; the other chemicals had deadlines ranging from 2005 to 2040.56 Step-by-step, the science had been worked out, and regulations were based on them."(270)
"If environmental regulation should be based on science, then ozone is a success story. It took time to work out the complex science, but scientists, with support from the U.S. government and international scientific organizations, did it. Regulations were put in place based on the science, and adjusted in response to advances in it. But running in parallel to this were persistent efforts to challenge the science. Industry representatives and other skeptics doubted that ozone depletion was real, or argued that if it was real, it was inconsequential, or caused by volcanoes."(271)
"During the early 1980s, anti-environmentalism had taken root in a network of conservative and Libertarian think tanks in Washington. These think tanks — which included the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Marshall Institute, variously promoted business interests and “free market” economic policies, and the rollback of environmental, health, safety, and labor protections. They were supported by donations from businessmen, corporations, and conservative foundations. " [mijn nadruk] (272)
Weer met Singer en zo.
"In short, Singer’s story had three major themes: the science is incomplete and uncertain; replacing CFCs will be difficult, dangerous, and expensive; and the scientific community is corrupt and motivated by self-interest and political ideology. The first was true, but the adaptive structure of the Montreal Protocol had accounted for it. The second was baseless. As for the third, considering Singer’s ties to the Reagan administration and the Heritage Foundation, and considering the venues in which he published, this was surely the pot calling the kettle black. And we now know what happened when CFCs were banned. Non-CFC refrigerants are now available that are more energy efficient — due to excellent engineering and stricter efficiency standards — than the materials they replaced, and they aren’t toxic, flammable, or corrosive."(280)
"Everyone is entitled to an opinion. But when a scientist consistently rejects the weight of evidence, and repeats arguments that have been thoroughly rebutted by his colleagues, we are entitled to ask, What is really going on?"(290)
"What was Singer really up to? We suggest that the best answer comes from his own pen. “And then there are probably those with hidden agendas of their own — not just to ‘save the environment’ but to change our economic system,” he wrote in 1989. “Some of these ‘coercive utopians’ are socialists, some are technology-hating Luddites; most have a great desire to regulate — on as large a scale as possible.” In a 1991 piece on global warming, he reiterated the theme that environmental threats — in this case global warming — were being manufactured by environmentalists based on a “hidden political agenda” against “business, the free market, and the capitalistic system.” The true goal of those involved in global warming research was not to stop global warming, but to foster “international action, preferably with lots of treaties and protocols.” The “real” agenda of environmentalists — and the scientists who provided the data on which they relied — was to destroy capitalism and replace it with some sort of worldwide utopian Socialism — or perhaps Communism. That echoed a common right-wing refrain in the early 1990s: that environmental regulation was the slippery slope to Socialism. [mijn nadruk] "(292)
"In 1986, a new panic ripped through the industry, much like the one that tobacco salesmen must have felt in 1953 when those first painted mice developed cancer from cigarette tar, and again in 1963 when the industry read the first Surgeon General’s report. The cause was a new Surgeon General’s report that concluded that secondhand smoke could cause cancer even in otherwise healthy nonsmokers. When the EPA took steps to limit indoor smoking, Fred Singer joined forces with the Tobacco Institute to challenge the scientific basis of secondhand smoke’s health risks. But they didn’t just claim that the data were insufficient; they claimed that the EPA was doing “bad science.” To make this claim seem credible, they didn’t just fight EPA on secondhand smoke; they began a smear campaign to discredit the EPA in general and tarnish any scientific results that any industry didn’t like as “junk.”"(293)
"Takeshi Hirayama was chief epidemiologist at the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan. In 1981, he showed that Japanese women whose husbands smoked had much higher death rates from lung cancer than those whose husbands did not. The study was long-term and big — 540 women in twenty-nine different health care districts studied over fourteen years — and showed a clear dose-response curve: the more the husbands smoked, the more the wives died from lung cancer. Spousal drinking had no effect, and the husbands’ smoking had no impact on diseases like cervical cancer that you wouldn’t expect to be affected by cigarette smoke. The study did exactly what good epidemiology should do: it demonstrated an effect and ruled out other causes. The Japan study also explained a long-standing conundrum: why many women got lung cancer even when they didn’t smoke. Hirayama’s study was a first-rate piece of science; today it is considered a landmark.
The tobacco industry lambasted its findings. They hired consultants to mount a counterstudy and undermine Hirayama’s reputation."(297)
Alle inmiddels bekende maatregelen werden genomen. Maar de benadering ging nu nog eens tuk verder dan voorheen: wetenschap als zodanig werd zwart gemaakt.
"And that was precisely the point. The goal wasn’t to correct scientific mistakes and place regulation on a better footing. It was to undermine regulation by challenging the scientific foundation on which it would be built. It was to pretend that you wanted sound science when really you wanted no science at all — or at least no science that got in your way. " [mijn nadruk] (319)
"No one in 1993 would have argued that the EPA was a perfect agency, or that there weren’t some regulations that needed to be revamped; even its supporters had said as much. But the tobacco industry didn’t want to make the EPA work better and more sensibly; they wanted to bring it down."(324)
"Marxists were often criticized for believing that the ends justified the means, yet these old Cold Warriors were now the ones using ends to justify means — attacking science in the name of freedom. Suppressing evidence. Misrepresenting what their colleagues had done and said. Taking quotes out of context. Making allegations that were unsupported by evidence."(360)
"Today, all but a tiny handful of climate scientists are convinced that Earth’s climate is heating up, and that human activities are the dominant cause. Yet many Americans remained skeptical."(364)
"There are many reasons why the United States has failed to act on global warming, but at least one is the confusion raised by Bill Nierenberg, Fred Seitz, and Fred Singer."(366)
"The physical scientists allowed that many details were unclear — more research was needed — but they broadly agreed that the issue was very serious. When the chapters were boiled down to their essence, the overall conclusion was the same as before: CO2 had increased due to human activities, CO2 will continue to increase unless changes are made, and these increases will affect weather, agriculture, and ecosystems. None of the physical scientists suggested that accumulating CO2 was not a problem, or that we should simply wait and see."(383)
"So Nierenberg’s committee had produced a report with two quite different views: the physical scientists viewed accumulating CO2 as a serious problem; the economists argued that it wasn’t. And the latter view framed the report — providing its first and last chapters."(389)
"But the Nierenberg report didn’t go out with the morning trash. It was used by the White House to counter scientific work being done by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA prepared two reports of its own, both of which concluded that global warming would be serious, and that the nation should take immediate action to reduce coal use. When the EPA reports came out, White House Science Advisor George Keyworth used Nierenberg’s report to refute them."(392)
"But just as Alvin Weinberg hadn’t bought these arguments, not all economists did, either. A handful of economists in the late 1960s had realized that free market economics, focused as it was on consumption growth, was inherently destructive to the natural environment and to the ecosystems on which we all depend. The Earth doesn’t have infinite resources, and, as we saw in chapter 3 with acid rain, it doesn’t have an infinite ability to withstand pollution. Nierenberg hadn’t put any of these economists on his panel. So just as Nierenberg had built his Executive Summary around a one-sided view of climate change, he’d built it around a one-sided view of economics." [mijn nadruk] (394)
"Two crucial developments during the presidential campaign year of 1988 changed climate science forever. The first was the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The second was the announcement by climate modeler James E. Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, that anthropogenic global warming had begun. An organized campaign of denial began the following year, and soon ensnared the entire climate science community."(396)
"In 1989 — the very year the Berlin Wall fell — the Marshall Institute issued its first report attacking climate science. Within a few years, they would be attacking climate scientists as well."(401)
"The IPCC explicitly addressed — and rejected — the Marshall Institute argument for blaming the Sun. The upper limits on solar variability, they explained, are “small compared with greenhouse forcing and even if such a change occurred over the next few decades, it would be swamped by the enhanced greenhouse effect.”
But the IPCC’s refutation didn’t matter to the Marshall Institute. In 1991, they reiterated their argument in a longer version, and in October 1992 Bill Nierenberg took it on the road to the World Petroleum Congress in Buenos Aires, where he launched a full frontal attack on the IPCC."(408)
[Het is allemaal weer het bekende verhaal dus.]
"Having taken on the patriarch of climate change research, they went after one of its rising young stars: Benjamin Santer of the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory."(427)
"Perhaps after so many years as Svengali, Bill Nierenberg did not realize that this time he had gone too far. Nierenberg, despite his intellect, really didn’t seem to understand that by participating in this assault on Ben Santer, he was attacking the entire community of climate modelers. By signing on to Singer’s letter, he marked himself in their eyes as a political actor, not a scientific one. Nierenberg’s comment that he feared the polarization of the community was both perceptive and blinkered; the climate science community was most definitely becoming polarized, but it was due to his own actions, and those of a small network of doubt-mongers."(460)
Over de aanvallen op Rachel Carson vanwewge haar Silent Spring. Als samenvatting:
"Rachel carson is an american hero — the courageous woman who in the early 1960s called our attention to the harms of indiscriminate pesticide use. In Silent Spring, a beautiful book about a dreadful topic, Carson explained how pesticides were accumulating in the food chain, damaging the natural environment, and threatening even the symbol of American freedom: the bald eagle. Although the pesticide industry tried to paint her as a hysterical female, her work was affirmed by the President’s Science Advisory Committee, and in 1972, the EPA concluded that the scientific evidence was sufficient to warrant the banning of the pesticide DDT in America.
Most historians, we included, consider this a success story. A serious problem was brought to public attention by an articulate spokesperson, and, acting on the advice of acknowledged experts, our government took appropriate action. Moreover, the banning of DDT, which took place under a Republican administration, had widespread public and bipartisan political support. The policy allowed for exceptions, including the sale of DDT to the World Health Organization for use in countries with endemic malaria, and for public health emergencies here at home. It was sensible policy, based on solid science.
Fast-forward to 2007. The Internet is flooded with the assertion that Carson was a mass murderer, worse than Hitler. Carson killed more people than the Nazis. She had blood on her hands, posthumously. Why? Because Silent Spring led to the banning of DDT, without which millions of Africans died of malaria. The Competitive Enterprise Institute — whom we encountered in previous chapters defending tobacco and doubting the reality of global warming — now tells us that “Rachel was wrong.” “Millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm,” their site asserts. “That person is Rachel Carson.”
Other conservative and Libertarian think tanks sound a similar cry. The American Enterprise Institute argues that DDT was “probably the single most valuable chemical ever synthesized to prevent disease,” but was unnecessarily banned because of hysteria generated by Carson’s influence. The Cato Institute tells us that DDT is making a comeback. And the Heartland Institute posts an article defending DDT by Bonner Cohen, the man who created EPA Watch for Philip Morris back in the mid-1990s. (Heartland also has extensive, continuing programs to challenge climate science.)
The stories we’ve told so far in this book involve the creation of doubt and the spread of disinformation by individuals and groups attempting to prevent regulation of tobacco, CFCs, pollution from coal-fired power plants, and greenhouse gases. They involve fighting facts that demonstrate the harms that these products and pollutants induce in order to stave off regulation. At first, the Carson case seems slightly different from these earlier ones, because by 2007 DDT had been banned in the United States for more than thirty years. This horse was long out of the barn, so why try to reopen a thirty-year-old debate?
Sometimes reopening an old debate can serve present purposes. In the 1950s, the tobacco industry realized that they could protect their product by casting doubt on the science and insisting the dangers of smoking were unproven. In the 1990s, they realized that if you could convince people that science in general was unreliable, then you didn’t have to argue the merits of any particular case, particularly one — like the defense of secondhand smoke — that had no scientific merit. In the demonizing of Rachel Carson, free marketeers realized that if you could convince people that an example of successful government regulation wasn’t, in fact, successful — that it was actually a mistake — you could strengthen the argument against regulation in general." [mijn nadruk] (467-468)
"Historians have suggested that Silent Spring was to environmentalism what Uncle Tom’s Cabin was to abolitionism: the spark for a new public consciousness. Yet almost as soon as Silent Spring came out, the pesticide industry went on the attack. They called Carson hysterical and emotional. They claimed that the science behind her work was anecdotal, unproven, inadequate, and wrong. They threatened Carson’s publisher with lawsuits."(474)
"There was no rush to judgment against DDT: it took three presidencies to enact the ban. Science was not the cause of that policy — political will was — but the scientific facts supported it."(478)
"When the United States took action against DDT in 1971, EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus made clear that the new ban would not apply outside the United States. (How could it? EPA had no authority over other countries.) Ruckelshaus stressed that U.S. manufacturers were free to continue to manufacture and sell the product for disease control overseas, and that his agency would “not presume to regulate the felt necessities of other countries.”" [mijn nadruk] (489)
[Zo typisch voor Amerikanen, dit. Alleen aan jezelf denken en in de rest van de wereld mag het kapitalisme zijn gang gaan. We moeten het bedrijfsleven natuurlijk niet te veel dwarszitten, stel je voor.]
"The network of right-wing foundations, the corporations that fund them, and the journalists who echo their claims have created a tremendous problem for American science. A recent academic study found that of the fifty-six “environmentally skeptical” books published in the 1990s, 92 percent were linked to these right-wing foundations (only thirteen were published in the 1980s, and 100 percent were linked to the foundations). Scientists have faced an ongoing misrepresentation of scientific evidence and historical facts that brands them as public enemies — even mass murderers — on the basis of phony facts." [mijn nadruk] (508)
"All of us who were children in the Cold War learned in school how the Soviet Union routinely engaged in historical cleansing, erasing real events and real people from their official histories and even official photographs. The right-wing defenders of American liberty have now done the same. The painstaking work of scientists, the reasoned deliberations of the President’s Science Advisory Committee, and the bipartisan American agreement to ban DDT have been flushed down the memory hole, along with the well-documented and easily found (but extremely inconvenient) fact that the most important reason that DDT failed to eliminate malaria was because insects evolved. That is the truth — a truth that those with blind faith in free markets and blind trust in technology simply refuse to see."(509)
"To acknowledge this was to acknowledge the soft underbelly of free market capitalism: that free enterprise can bring real costs — profound costs — that the free market does not reflect. Economists have a term for these costs — a less reassuring one than Friedman’s “neighborhood effects.” They are “negative externalities”: negative because they aren’t beneficial and external because they fall outside the market system. Those who find this hard to accept attack the messenger, which is science." [mijn nadruk] (511)
"This is the common thread that ties these diverse issues together: they were all market failures. They are instances where serious damage was done and the free market seemed unable to account for it, much less prevent it. Government intervention was required. This is why free market ideologues and old Cold Warriors joined together to fight them. Accepting that by-products of industrial civilization were irreparably damaging the global environment was to accept the reality of market failure. It was to acknowledge the limits of free market capitalism." [mijn nadruk] (512)
"With the rise of radio, television, and now the Internet, it sometimes seems that anyone can have their opinion heard, quoted, and repeated, whether it is true or false, sensible or ridiculous, fair-minded or malicious. The Internet has created an information hall of mirrors, where any claim, no matter how preposterous, can be multiplied indefinitely. And on the Internet, disinformation never dies. “Electronic barbarism” one commentator has called it — an environment that is all sail and no anchor. Pluralism run amok.(...) Everywhere we turn someone is questioning something, and many of the important issues of our day are reduced to he said/she said/who knows? Any person could be forgiven for being confused." [mijn nadruk] (515-516)
"A key strategy in the campaigns to market doubt was to create the appearance that the claims being promoted were scientific."(522)
"We have seen throughout this story how the merchandising of doubt was aided and abetted by ideologically motivated think tanks that promoted and spread the message. We’ve documented that several of these think tanks had links to the tobacco industry. Journalists Chris Mooney, Ross Gelbspan, and Bill McKibben have documented how these think tanks were in turn funded by conservative foundations including Scaife, Olin, and Adolph Coors, and giant corporations such as Exxon Mobil."(528)
"Perhaps this is why among the scores of think tanks and organizations that Philip Morris supported, we find the seemingly obscure Ludwig von Mises Institute. Ludwig von Mises, an Austrian aristocrat, was one of the founders of modern laissez-faire economics. And this brings us to the crux of our story, the pivot around which these diverse actors came together. The link that unites the tobacco industry, conservative think tanks, and the scientists in our story is the defense of the free market.
Throughout our story, the people involved demanded the right to be heard, insisting that we — the public — had the right to hear both sides and that the media had an obligation to present it. They insisted that this was only fair and democratic. But were they attempting to preserve democracy? No. The issue was not free speech; it was free markets. It was the appropriate role of government in monitoring the marketplace. It was regulation. So we must consider the ideology that drove the merchants of doubt — the ideology of laissez-faire economics — before we finally turn to the question of how to make sure that we don’t get fooled again." [mijn nadruk] (531)
"And this was precisely what these men most feared and loathed, for they viewed regulation as the slippery slope to Socialism, a form of creeping Communism."(533)
"The billionaire investor George Soros has coined a term to describe this perspective: “free market fundamentalism.” It is the belief not simply that free markets are the best way to run an economic system, but that free markets are the only way that will not ultimately destroy our other freedoms. “The doctrine of laissez-faire capitalism holds that the common good is best served by the uninhibited pursuit of self-interest,” Soros wrote. Like its bête noire, Marxism, laissez-faire economics claimed to be scientific, based upon immutable laws of nature, and also like Marxism, it has not stood the test of experience. If it were a scientific theory, it would have long ago been rejected. Free-market fundamentalism is an article of faith.(...) The basic tenet of laissez-faire, that “free and competitive markets bring supply and demand into equilibrium and thereby ensure the best allocation of resources,” is an axiom that turns out not to be true." [mijn nadruk] (534)
"The question is not whether we turn to technology for help; the question is whether we can assume that free markets will produce those technologies freely, of their own accord. The question is also whether they will do so in time — so we can relax in the comforting knowledge that they will — or whether we need to get out of our chairs and do something."(548)
"The history of technology does not support the Cornucopian view of the relation between technological innovation and free markets. Many technologies crucial to the advance of civilization were invented before the advent of capitalism. Moreover, the Soviet Union, for all its failures, was a technologically innovative society. Most famously, they launched an artificial satellite into space — Sputnik — before the United States did. The problem with the Soviet Union was not that they lacked technological innovation. The problem was that the benefits did not accrue to their people. Cornucopians hold to a blind faith in technology that isn’t borne out by the historical evidence. We call it “technofideism.”"(560)
"What this all adds up to—to return to our story—is that the doubt-mongering campaigns we have followed were not about science. They were about the proper role of government, particularly in redressing market failures. Because the results of scientific investigation seem to suggest that government really did need to intervene in the marketplace if pollution and public health were to be effectively addressed, the defenders of the free market refused to accept those results. The enemies of government regulation of the marketplace became the enemies of science."(563)
"Scientists are finely honed specialists trained to create new knowledge, but they have little training in how to communicate to broad audiences, even less in how to defend scientific work against determined and well-financed contrarians. They often have little talent or taste for it, either. Until recently, most scientists have not been particularly anxious to take the time to communicate broadly. They consider their “real” work to be the production of knowledge, not its dissemination, and they often view these two activities as mutually exclusive. Some even sneer at colleagues who communicate to broader audiences, dismissing them as “popularizers.”"(567)
Bovendien zijn wetenschappers zoals alle mensen zeer gevoelig voor intimidatie door mensen die hun reputaties zonder blikken of blozen door het slijk halen.
"Unfortunately, garbage doesn’t just go away. Someone has to deal with it, and that someone is all of us: journalists who report scientific findings, specialist professional bodies who represent the scientific fields, and all of us as citizens.(...) But there are solutions. Global warming is a big problem, and to solve it we have to stop listening to disinformation. We have to pay attention to our science and harness the power of our engineering. Rome may not be burning, but Greenland is melting, and we are still fiddling. We all need a better understanding of what science really is, how to recognize real science when we see it, and how to separate it from the garbage."(570)
"The failure of the United States to act on global warming and the long delays between when the science was settled and when we acted on tobacco, acid rain, and the ozone hole are prima facie empirical evidence that doubt-mongering worked."(572)
"Uncertainty favors the status quo. As Giere and his colleagues put it, “Is it any wonder that those who benefit the most from continuing to do nothing emphasize the controversy among scientists and the need for continued research?”" [mijn nadruk] (573)
"The protagonists of our story merchandised doubt because they realized — with or without the help of academic decision theory — that doubt works. And it works in part because we have an erroneous view of science.
We think that science provides certainty, so if we lack certainty, we think the science must be faulty or incomplete. This view — that science could provide certainty — is an old one, but it was most clearly articulated by the late-nineteenth-century positivists, who held out a dream of “positive” knowledge — in the familiar sense of absolutely, positively true. But if we have learned anything since then, it is that the positivist dream was exactly that: a dream. History shows us clearly that science does not provide certainty. It does not provide proof. It only provides the consensus of experts, based on the organized accumulation and scrutiny of evidence." [mijn nadruk] (573)
"Don’t get us wrong. Scientists have no special purchase on moral or ethical decisions; a climate scientist is no more qualified to comment on health care reform than a physicist is to judge the causes of bee colony collapse. The very features that create expertise in a specialized domain lead to ignorance in many others. In some cases lay people — farmers, fishermen, patients, indigenous peoples — may have relevant experiences that scientists can learn from. Indeed, in recent years, scientists have begun to recognize this: the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment includes observations gathered from local indigenous groups."(587)